Product Review: Betty Lou’s Foods

Next up is kind of an unconventional review for me, it’s one of a food product. Betty Lou’s, Inc. BL_Logo2010Betty Lou’s, Inc is the maker of a full line of products that will appeal to the health conscious consumers out there. I have been provided a sampling of their products and have had a hell of a good time working my way through their box of goodness. I’ll give you an overview of the company themselves, a listing of what I was provided and spotlight/highlight my favorites.

Ok, so first things first, I want to touch on the company itself. Betty Lou’s is a 32 year old company, based out of the Pacific Northwest that specializes in healthy food products. The focus is on creating foods that are made of (as their tagline reads) “Just Great Stuff… and Plenty of it!”. The various offerings can appeal to a host of different restrictive dietary requirements, such as Gluten-Free, Corn-Free, Dairy-Free, Low-Fat, Low (or No) Cholesterol, High Protein, Vegan…you get the idea. Whatever your nutrition focus, odds are they have something that will appeal and be applicable to you. And just as importantly as all the healthy benefits, there is also a focus on keeping things TASTING GOOD. I can be eating the healthiest thing in the world, but if it tastes like cardboard, I’m not going to keep eating it. Plain and simple. They succeed on all points. Allow me to elaborate on that below:

I was provided a pretty comprehensive sampling of nearly all of their offerings. I was provided one of each of the following:

Protein Shakes: (Orange Cream, Vanilla, Chocolate)

These are pre-packaged, Low Glycemic protein shakes that you mix with water to create a great post-workout recovery drink. I tried the Orange Cream and Chocolate as is, and then “doctored up” the vanilla one.The Orange Cream was pretty good, it actually took me way back and reminded me of the Orange Creamsicle popsicles I ate all the time growing up. The chocolate tasted very similar to powdered chocolate milk mix once it’s mixed up, and then for the vanilla, I threw it in the blender along with some milk (to replace the water), ice, a banana, and some of the Betty Lou’s Powdered Peanut Butter.(see the review for the powdered peanut butter below. -spoiler: I freaking LOVE that stuff) What resulted was a frosty creamy ridiculously good smoothie. A great treat after my weekly long run.

**note- I had to look it up, because I had heard of the glycemic index, but was not exactly sure what a low glycemic rating indicated as opposed to a high one. In VERY high level terms, the glcemic index is looking at sugars and how they are processed by your body. Foods that are highly processed (and subsequently not nearly as good for you) such as white bread, white rice, etc are high glycemic foods. Generally speaking, these are the ones that should be avoided and replaced with the healthier, low glycemic foods. These are much more easily processed by your body and will pay dividends by taking longer to process, having less of harsh impact on your blood sugars and generally making you feel full longer. So if you are looking for a good pre-packaged post-run shake, this is where you want to be. Ok, nerdy food dissertation over.

Nut Butter Balls (High Protein Almond, Almond Butter, Peanut Butter, Cashew Pecan, Coconut Macadamia, & Spirulina Ginseng)

As the name would imply, these are balls made of nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter -which is peanut butter made with almonds and not peanuts for those who may have heard the term but never quite knew exactly what it was-, etc) and then rolled in more nuts and spices to make a very dense, filling snack. You need to really like nuts to appreciate these. I liked them all, but was not over the moon with any of them. I can really see the value and appeal of these going to the hiking and granola set of people out there, who need something that is small, easy to pack and stow away, but will fill you up and provided a good punch of protein and energy. Good, earthy, natural, and healthy tasting. My favorite was the Cashew Pecan Ball. Very good.

Just Great Stuff Bars (Organic Acai Superberry, Organic Veggie and Fruit, Organic Chocolate Dream Greens, Organic Cacao Acai)

These are a series of bars that look and taste like your standard issue candy or energy bars, but very sneakily squeeze in massive amounts of healthy goodness so you don’t quite realize it. They are sweet, chewy, and overall very good. (Especially the Chocolate Dream Greens one, you would literally never know you are eating anything other than a good chocolate bar). Really good, and I can see these being very useful for the health conscious: whether that is trying to sneak veggies into your kids without them realizing, sneak veggies into those kid’s finicky parents without THEM realizing either, or willing eating it yourself.

Gluten Free Fruit Bars (Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, Cherry)

These bars were hands down my favorite “food item” I was provided. They are just completely bangin’. Freaking delicious. I want to eat more. Now. (so yes, I liked them) They very closely resemble a square piece of cobbler, with a really great biscuit-like crust on the top and bottom, and then sandwiched in between is this thick fruit filling that just tastes fantastic. They were small enough to still be a snack, but still substantial enough to not want to eat 2 or 3 in one sitting because you’re not full yet after the first. And at 180 calories per, they don’t eat up much of your daily calorie allotment, if you are into tracking such things like I am. This is the first of the offerings I would actually go out my way to go and purchase. (And if you would like to do just that, you can use the Store Locator tool on their website to find the closest store to you). These Fruit Bars are damn good, and I am now a superfan. Go get one. You’ll be glad you did.

Powdered Peanut Butter (Peanut Butter and Chocolate Peanut Butter)

…and I saved the best (in my opinion) for last. The Powdered Peanut Butter. Dude, this was the game changer for me. I love peanut butter, but its so damn high in calories I have had to cut back on it dramatically. Betty Lou’s makes powdered peanut butter that comes in at just a fraction of the calories, but is really, really freaking good. Think of it as peanut butter powder. Not exactly sure how, but they turn peanuts into this fine ground powder that can be used as-is or mixed into drinks There are limitless possibilities for this, and I have use it both in making smoothies as well as mixing it with water to reconstitute it and make peanut butter again. It comes in both regular and a chocolate peanut butter variety (yes, you read that right. Chocolate. Peanut. Butter. Booyaa) I used the Regular in the blender along with some honey, yogurt, and frozen bananas (resulting in an amazing smoothie), and the Chocolate I mixed with water to turn it back into a spreadable Peanut Butter and it has now become part of my go-to training/ long run breakfast (see below).

If you want a “real life example” of my hands down favorite thus far, please see my new go-to usage for the Chocolate Peanut Butter Powdered Peanut Butter.

(This is 430 cal of carb loading, protein filled, Pre-Run breakfast goodness)

-Manhattan Bagel Pumpernickel Bagel- 240 cal
-1 Banana- 110 cal
-4 Tbsp of Betty Lou’s Chocolate Peanut Butter (mixed w/water)-80 cal
-Large Black Coffee- 0 cal

photo

Looking at everything overall: On the positive side, there is no question that if you are going to snack (and let’s face it, odds are you’re going to snack…and that’s not a bad thing!) turning to Betty Lou’s is one of the best ways to get healthy, lower calorie, good for you food to do it with. They taste damn good and help keep you feeling full till the next meal. (which is exactly what I need them to do) Looking for a negative, I can only say that they are not as much of an “find them in every supermarket” type of product. They can be found online, as well as locally in specialty health food stores and select supermarkets. But you do have to put forth a little effort to get your hands on them. I do believe that effort is worth it, however.

So there you have it, my review of the Betty Lou’s line of food products. I know everybody’s tastes are different, but I like being in the position to be able to try out new things and point you in the right direction. I would urge you to try them out for yourself and see what you think.

 ______________________________________________________

I am approaching this review from my standard viewpoint of what I believe the core interest of this blog really gets at: that is to say I am presenting my review by looking at this product from the perspective of a person who is relatively new to the running world, has some weight to lose and wants go about losing the weight by starting to incorporate a more active lifestyle and want to know how sift through the volumes of available gear/ equipment out there.

One of the great benefits to running a blog like this one is that it puts me in a position from time to time to receive various products to use and review for you. Oftentimes, these items are provided to me free of charge. This is the only type of compensation I have ever received, and my acceptance of these items in no way constitutes any obligation to provide an unwarranted positive review. My opinions on the products are unfiltered and 100% my own.

**This product was provided to me free of charge, but again, this does not influence my review or views on the product in any way**

Also please note that these are the personal opinions and experiences of one individual (me) on my personal blog, and intended to be taken as such. I personally, and The Running My Ass Off Blog do not accept any liability from the purchase or use of any products reviewed on this blog.

**Sorry, just have to cover my ass here. These are unbiased reviews, intended only to help. I’m not going to try and sell you anything, nor do I want you to take my opinions as the final word on any product. Let me help you figure out what you should check out, and then check the stuff out for yourself to see if you like it.**

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